War, Rivalry, and State Building in the Middle East

Lingyu Lu, Cameron G. Thies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We examine how war and rivalry affect state building in the Middle East. We argue that wars and rivalries promote state capacity, defined as the ability of a government to penetrate society for the purposes of resource extraction. Using cross-national time-series data for eighteen Middle Eastern countries from 1960 to 2003, we find that the structural pressure caused by the presence of international and domestic rivals augments extractive capacity. Conversely, both international and civil wars jeopardize state building in the Middle East. Furthermore, the negative effects of war upon state capacity are far greater than the constructive effects of rivalry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-253
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Middle East
  • rivalry
  • state building
  • war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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